Blizzard has often been criticized for its policy of retiring content in Hearthstone, giving players a limited time to enjoy their decks before moving on.
Every expansion pack has a lifespan of just two years, after which it is transferred from the Standard rotation to Wild. In addition, the developer is also in the habit of removing specific classic cards from the game on a yearly basis.
In the past, Blizzard has stated that the rotation policy is for balancing purposes. Hearthstone receives hundreds of cards every year. Balancing would be a nightmare when those cards begin piling up.
However, players are not too concerned about that aspect. They are disappointed that several keywords or mechanics are kept hostage in Hearthstone with their respective expansion packs. This means that once the packs are rotated out, players must say their goodbyes because Blizzard usually moves on to newer keywords.
Responding to a thread on the official forums, game designer Max McCall explained that every new card set in Hearthstone features new keywords. Some have more than others. If they were not removed on a timely basis, there would a large collection of various different keywords. This would make it incredibly overwhelming for newcomers, making it difficult to enjoy Hearthstone.
“Most of our sets have a new keyword, and some of them have more than one, he said. “If, in addition to a set’s new mechanics, we also kept around Spare Parts and Inspire and so on, we’d quickly reach Peak Keyword. Every set is someone’s first set, and learning Hearthstone is tough enough without a bevy of cards with words you don’t understand.”
The developer added that it is understandable for older players to feel left out because their knowledge of older mechanics keeps getting thrown out of the window. This is why Blizzard has kept Wild so that players can use any combination of their older cards against their opponents.
“Having a theme is more fun than having a card or two with Inspire,” he concluded. “Instead, we can layer cards like Maiden of the Lake and Garrison Commander on top of Inspire to give the mechanic more depth. We wouldn’t be able to do that if we had more keywords, because we don’t have enough cards in each set to do so.”
Earlier this month, Blizzard announced that Hearthstone registered over seventy million players worldwide.